Jan 31, 2005 1:46pm
When The Nasty Rumours Persist...God Forbid!
Originally from http://philstar.com/philstar/LIFESTYLE200501313709.htm
Then it was changed to its most current link at http://philstar.com/philstar/LIFESTYLE200502013709.htm
(AND expect the link to change probably two or three times more. Anyway.)
The shoplifting rumors
LOVE LUCY By Lucy Gomez
The Philippine STAR 01/30/2005
Over the weekend, I received an e-mail from Rizza, my friend in Cebu. She forwarded me something she received in her inbox, a story that was all about me. It was entitled "Si Lucy naman" and I am sharing it with you in full.
Three separate e-mails were sent by a Katherine, Lorraine and Raphael and they forwarded it to no fewer than 33 e-mail addresses. (By the way, I know their full names, e-mail addresses and all the people they had forwarded their messages to.)
Please go through it first before you go on reading the rest of my article. * * *
Subject: Si Lucy naman…
Narinig ko na itong story na ito...shocking! Now she shops daw with bodyguards following her just to make sure na walang kukunin, or kung meron man, binabalik na lang nila. Nobody’s perfect talaga… * * *
Re: Fw: Tsismis naman tayo...
Si Lucy (asawa ni Richard), nagsa-shopping sa Rustan’s. Tapos maya-maya, nilapitan nung manager. Eto ang dialogue:
Manager: Ma’am, can we check your bag?
Lucy: No, this is my bag. It’s private property. You don’t have the right to inspect it just because you feel like it.
Manager: Actually, ma’am, since you’re on our premises, we have every right to inspect it.
Bumigay na rin finally si Lucy. At may nakitang perfume or wallet or watch or something, di ko na maalala, dun sa bag niya. Tapos tumawag yung manager kay Richard Gomez at ibinalita na "Sir, we caught your wife shoplifting." At ang sagot ni Richard ay buntong-hininga, sabay, "Shoplifting? Again?"
So pinagbayad lang naman ang mag-asawa, pero hindi na ginawan ng storya. At yan daw ang dahilan kung bakit medyo mabait si Richard Gomez sa ABS-CBN ngayon. Kasi ABS owns Rustan’s or they have a relationship or something (I really don’t pay attention all that well, hehe), so kapag napikon ang ABS kay Richard Gomez, pwede nila ilabas yung surveillance tape of Lucy bagging the...umm, something.
Ayos, we have our very own Winona Ryder! =)
Client ko ang ABS-CBN and nakwento na rin nila eto sa min. Take note, reliable ang source ko kasi somebody from the top management etong kausap namin. Klepto nga daw si Lucy. Sayang ‘no?! She’s beautiful pa naman, wala talagang perpektong tao. * * *
I wrote about this very same rumor on June 6, 2004. If you read that, you probably remember my writing that I would always choose to count my blessings rather than dwell on something as mean as that. And I meant it sincerely. It may not have been easy turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to a nasty story but that was how I chose to fight the battle at that time. Why dignify it with an answer? Why even try to explain and convince people that it simply did not happen?
Let it be said that I was hoping it would die a natural death, as I was sure it would. I was banking on how baseless it was anyway. I had never been fond of fanfare and gimmickry and the last thing I wanted to do was call attention to myself.
I do not seek publicity and I definitely am not one of those who believe that publicity, good or bad, is still publicity. Perhaps the main reason I did not acknowledge the rumor specifically then was because I felt that by doing so, I would only succeed in spreading it some more.
Kris Aquino, who was the first to inform me, tried to persuade me to stare it in the face, so to speak, not by writing about it reservedly (as I admit I did) but by bravely acknowledging it in addition to exploring my legal options. The one thing she told me that continuously reverberates in my mind until now is that "An urban myth, when perpetuated, will soon become a legend." And Kris was right all along. Not only was the rumor perpetuated, it even became more maliciously embellished along the way to make it appear even more true. I never realized people could be so mean.
Given the circumstances now, there is no reason why I should be coy about it. It has spread far and wide and by coming out to talk about it openly I am, in a way, also acknowledging the severity of the issue and coming to terms with what it actually is: Pure character assassination. The only difference then and now is that what was initially talked about in whispers and hidden behind guessing games and blind items is now declared. And all fingers are quick to point at me.
There seems to be a concerted effort to hurt and crush me, for what reason I really don’t know. Perhaps I may never find out. All I know is that although it is hurtful, offensive, and frustrating all at the same time, this is not the kind of thing that will kill my spirit.
Over the past few months, the same rumor that started as a blind item in The Manila Standard has grown incredibly by leaps and bounds and the original story bloomed and grew to include specifics. Whereas it started with me supposedly shoplifting a Bulgari watch at Rustan’s, it also went on to include shoplifting sprees at Tiffany (still at Rustan’s). And if you go back to the e-mail on this page, I apparently was also found with a wallet and perfume. Dead on, caught in the act. Why a wallet and perfume? Are those not affordable?
The story goes on. Apparently, talk has it that I shoplift not because I want to but because I need to. The story, whatever the version, ultimately concludes that I am a kleptomaniac, that my husband has checked me into rehab for this behavioral disorder, and that there was a conscious attempt on our part to whitewash the whole incident. If stories are to be believed, Richard even paid off Rustan’s a handsome sum just so they will keep the whole thing away from the prying eyes of media and cover up the real story.
All this talk started to travel through the grapevine in January 2004. It has been a year since. Sadly for me, it has not died down.
My friend Mons was in a gathering and this shoplifting story came up. Mons came to my defense by saying that there was no truth to it, that she even got to talk to the manager of Rustan’s – even the owners themselves – all of whom denied the supposed incident. She finally decided to rest her case when she realized that although the people she was with acknowledged that it most probably was not true, they still would rather believe that it was. How else could you make heads or tails about some of the things said in that gathering? "It’s probably not true, but hayaan mo na. At least it is nice knowing that Lucy is not perfect, and that God is fair, after all." Another one added, "Of course, she will deny she is a klepto. It is a disease and Lucy herself is not aware that she is afflicted with it."
Another friend of mine was at the parlor where two well-dressed matrons were passing off the story as Bible truth to whoever cared enough to hear. "It is such a comfort knowing that Lucy actually has a defect. Poor thing. But at least no one is perfect pala talaga."
Mayor JV Ejercito was at a gathering and an ABS-CBN newscaster reportedly told JV: "Mayor, alam mo ba that Lucy is a klepto?"
Many different people have also told me that a relative of the owners of Rustan’s has been confirming to people that the incident really did happen. It makes people believe because she is, after all, married to a Tantoco. And Rustan’s is owned by the Tantocos. A good friend of hers though came to her defense and said that in fairness, whenever she is asked she just chooses to neither deny nor confirm anything. And that probably they just take her silence as a confirmation and assume that it really is true. Otherwise daw, how difficult can it be to say it isn’t so?
My friend who gets treatments at Marie France, Makati, took me out to lunch before the holidays, oblivious that I already heard that rumor as far back as January of last year. It wasn’t until we were almost about to start dessert that she really took on a serious, somber tone. She finally said that she was gathering enough guts to tell me that her Marie France attendants were discussing what a sad thing it was for someone like me to turn out to be a klepto. My friend said that it wasn’t true but the two therapists insisted that it really was because earlier, they had serviced two Rustan’s executives who told them that they would actually be nervous whenever I walk through the doors of Rustan’s because they knew I would again be shoplifting. Oh yes, and that these executives had everything on tape, too.
Speaking of surveillance tapes, Karen Davila supposedly has it in her possession and that the station she belongs to is just waiting for the right time to air it. Although I already know what Karen has to say about it (Richard was able to speak to her and told her that if they really had a tape to please go ahead and show it ASAP. Perhaps doing so would really clear the air and solve the mystery, if you can call it that.) I am not in the position to share with you what they talked about. It’s best that it comes straight from Karen’s mouth. Suffice it to say that Karen has denied commenting on it on her radio program, denied too that she was given the Rustan’s surveillance tape.
Ek Channel, a showbiz-oriented talk show that airs every Saturday afternoon on ABS-CBN, featured re-enacted segments for two consecutive Saturdays detailing the crime I supposedly committed. Although these were blind items on both occasions, the clues they gave out apparently sounded enough like me to make people I knew who happened to be watching call and say that I was being maliciously referred to. After the airing, a source from the station told me that although they admittedly really had no proof, the people behind the show still chose to air the segments because it made for good copy.
In contrast, The Buzz (still an ABS-CBN show) never touched on the topic. Kris, bless her, was decent enough to fight for a factual approach over and above a malicious, gossipy one that was purely based on hearsay. She told the people on her show, most of whom insisted that there really was a Rustan’s surveillance tape catching me red-handed, that although she knew for a fact that there was no truth to it she will go ahead and run the story if and only if the show’s staff could produce the tape to support their claim.
No one could produce a tape. No story was run. And I have Kris to thank for that. What is even more touching is that she did that on her own, and I just found out about it by chance much, much later.
Other friends of mine who were vacationing in the States got wind of the rumor while they were there. At a gathering, a gay employee from Rustan’s was announcing to one and all that I was caught shoplifting, and that all the employees from the department store were called to a meeting and informed of the incident. Then he delightedly laughed and said "Ang saya, saya, hindi pala talaga siya perfect. She really cannot have it all! God is good!"
I lead a very normal life, I hardly ever go out, and that is probably not dramatic enough for others. That is probably why they have to spice it up by concocting incredible incidents. I feel no need to enumerate the reasons why the shoplifter they created in their minds could not be me. I don’t have to explain myself. My conscience is clear and I know that all this will pass, eventually. Maybe not anytime now, not anytime soon. But it will – that much I believe.
If at all, what I really find hurtful about all this is that there actually are people who would happily embrace an untruth just to make them feel better about their own lives. Must you fault me for having what you think is a perfect life? I never passed myself off as perfect, neither did I ever rub on anyone’s face that I lead a perfect life. Not that it should matter, really, but I do not have a perfect life. I do, however, have a very happy one, but it is not without its share of heartaches. Is that fair enough for you? Happiness, more than being a choice, is a blessing I enjoy. Must I be punished and hated for that?
All that said, I dare those who claim to have the Rustan’s surveillance tape to send it to media. Make hundreds of copies, if you want, and send them all out. If, for some reason, you conveniently "lost" the tape, present your witnesses – all those people you know who strongly allege that they know for a fact that I did it, or that they were actually there when I did it. Don’t just say "basta, a reliable source told me…" Name your reliable source. Field them to the tri-media. I’m sure the showbiz talk shows will be more than happy to interview them live on their show. And please do it soon. Maybe then we will really get to the bottom of this and find out the truth. Play this game fairly. You accuse me – now support your claim with facts, not just with hearsay. Most of you probably just heard about it from a friend who in turn also just heard it from a friend’s friend but by perpetuating the rumor, you, too, share in the lie.
The world is round, what goes around does come around and I have seen that happen enough times to appreciate it as a fact of life. Meanwhile, I anchor my strength, as always, on a God greater than even the nastiest rumor that could ever be said about me. There lies my peace of mind. And at the end of each day, I sleep well knowing that I have wronged no one, stepped on no one. I really hope you can say the same for yourself. Life may not be fair, but God is.